Kenya big names to miss marathon race in world championships

09:29, July 12, 2011      

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The marathon race in the World Athletics Championships is not about money but fame and that is the dilemma most elite runners get themselves into.

In pursuit of big contracts, Kenya's top names have opted to skip the world championships and run in marathons in big city like Berlin or Chicago, which will be held at the same time with the world championship.

Only 60,000 U.S. dollars is on offer for the winner, which is half of what most expect in prize money from the big city marathon races.

For a country burgeoned with great talents in distance running, Kenya is still confident of winning in Daegu. Already Kenya has named the final marathon squad that will include defending champion Abel Kirui and Paris marathon champion Priscah Jeptoo.

Athletics Kenya secretary general David Okeyo said Kirui was recalled to the team because the other faster and consistent athletes named earlier had declined to commit themselves to the event citing varied reasons.

"This is a special competition that we only consider those athletes who have shown enthusiasm to compete. We cannot force anyone to run for the country," said Okeyo in Nairobi.

Emmanuel Mutai, the world marathon championship silver medalist, declined to return to the event saying he had made earlier engagements to compete elsewhere.

"Mutai told us he had earlier engagements. But we take issues with his agent, who decided not to inform us in advance about his plans. I will not be surprised if those who have refused to run for the country end up winning big races at the same time," added Okeyo.

Mutai was second to Kirui in the 2009 worlds, but has since enhanced his reputation finishing second in last year's London marathon and returning to the London to win last month in a course record time of 2:04:40.

Only Edna Kiplagat had sent in a verbal commitment to run in the World championship, prompting Athletics Kenya to demand her agent to make official her stand.

Mary Keitany, who set the fastest time in over two years when she triumphed in London in 2:19.17, will also be missing in the women team.

"I will not be running in Daegu at the world championship. I know I still have a long way to learn in marathon, but I have set up my mind to try and break the world record and my manager is currently looking for a race, presumable a flat one that I can make this attempt," she said.

Berlin marathon in September is the most ideal and it also gives Keitany a chance to brush shoulders with her role model Radcliffe, who will be eying to make the team Great Britain for the London Olympics in 2012.

The 2011 World Athletics Championships set for Aug. 27 to Sept. 4 in Daegu, South Korea.

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